17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Baby Bliss (sarcasm)

Dear Lil' Sis,

Here is a picture of my placenta. Yup, after the beautiful baby girl, this will follow. It's gorgeous isn't it?

As you begin to think about the bliss of motherhood, let me provide you with a reality check. The first month (at least) is a whirlwind of pain, both physical, emotional, and mental. It is a time of euphoria (sometimes). It is the path to restarting your sex life...anybody know where the brakes or on this thing? And it is the beginning of the rest of your life. Say goodbye to the good ole days, now the real fun starts.

Here is what you might need in your bag of tricks:

Lansinoh breast cream. You rub this on your nipples after a feeding and it is ok for the baby to ingest it. I did not use this with baby #2, but did with baby #1...just depends on your comfort. With baby #2 my nipples got pussy blisters....don't fuss with them, they are ok for you and baby, they will heal in about a week.

If your breasts are in a lot of pain and you feel fluish or have a fever, this is a breast infection called mastitis. You need to see a doctor. To avoid this, if the baby goes a long stretch without eating (b/c she's getting bigger, sleeping longer etc.) just massage your breasts in a warm shower to get some of the milk out...just enough to relieve your pain....you will feel little hard spots in places sometimes. Or if you are desperate, massage over your kitchen or bathroom sink...or the toilet (if you are in an airport and you haven't pumped or fed your baby for 8 hours and the pressure involved with landing in the plane caused an explosion from your bosoms such that you REEKED of that sweet succulent breast milk, and upon removing your bra over said toilet it was a fountain of breast milk like no one wants to see)!

If the baby has a milky white substance on the inside of her mouth, this is thrush, also treatable...consult your doctor.

Your milk will not be there right away. A few days after you come home you will wake up from a nap as Dolly Parton. Until then you and baby are practicing, getting ready and the baby is eating colostrum. I had colostrum at around 32 weeks, so if you want to try to massage something out for fun, it might be there ; )

Try out your breast pump before you give birth...nothing will come out, but you will learn the mechanics of breastfeeding. Your baby does not suck the nipple, she presses your breast an inch or two above the nipple, so that the milk just comes OUT of the nipple...you will see this when you try out the breast pump.

Remember, your nipple has SEVERAL wholes....so don't be surprised when it looks like a sprinkler, not a hose.

Lansinoh breast pads. You don't have to use the stickies on the back, just shove them in your NURSING bra. They even have new ultra soft ones.

Nursing Bras
You will need several of these b/c milk is milk....it gets nasty. My fave ones that are also affordable are found at motherwear.

This sleep bra is AMAZING. Love it...get a few of these.

This one is great for you to hide the pads and have a nice, smooth look on the outside, it is more difficult to nurse in, but this is your going-out bra. It's called the perfect shaper.

Cottony Smooth cup is good for every day, but probably doesn't off support for big busty breastfeeders.

Please PLEASE PLEASE buy these bras...they are a must. And be prepared to buy a new set in about 6 months when your boobs shrink again (if you continue nursing). Also, if you are unsure about size, call them at motherwear, they really are experts.

When I had baby #1 I would get up at night, sit in the chair, get the boppy, water, everything all set up and nurse while I watched tv. NEVER did with baby #2, just nursed her lying down on each side. I used a flashlight so that we could all remember it was night. But with baby #1 it took me 4 months before I knew how to nurse lying down...so do what you can....just remember to burp and change after every feeding, and swaddling works wonders...I swaddled both girls for at least 4 months solid....EVERYWHERE we went.

Have lots of water on hand....breastfeeding makes you thirsty. Also take calcium b/c you are losing a TON producing milk. You are also needing 500 more calories a day to produce milk, so don't start dieting yet.

Private Parts
Tucks. Get the 100 pack....you will LOVE these...just dab your cootchie every time you go the bathroom and after a shower and ESPECIALLY after you start having sex again.

Speaking of sex. The first time back is like giving birth...just breathe through it baby. Buy some ASTROGLIDE...it is your friend.

Speaking of sex, you might want to keep your bra on for a while....milk likes to leak EVERY WHERE.

As for peeing....it burns, and the toilet paper feels yucky....with baby #1 they gave me a spray bottle when I came home but not the second time...so just get a sports bottle top water bottle, and every time you pee fill it up with warm water, and then spray yourself clean ....

These pads look good. These look good too. Just stay with long cushy ones, and get a variety. With my first baby I was convinced I needed Depends...let's just say it is so not cool to wear diapers while you are also changing someone elses...just get lots of luxuriously pillowy pads, and tucks and you will be fine. If you are lucky, the hospital will give you the ice pack and pads in one.

Here are some good cootchie tips.

For Baby
Mylocin drops are good when they are gassy, or gripe water, if you can get your hands on some. If you have a collicky one or a baby that cries....start paying attention to what you are eating, b/c they could be reacting to your breastmilk.

Also have your baby meds bought ahead of time: motrin, tylenol, little colds, little noses...saline drops stuff like that.

Belly button
Lately the docs say to just leave it alone, baby #1's fell off within a week. baby #2 had to get hers cotterized 3 times at the doctor. This means the belly button did not heal all the way, so if the stub falls off and it is still pussing and bleeding, the doctor has to burn it shut, it doesn't hurt the baby.

In your bag: your own snacks (sneak them when the nurse is out), and some for DH. Books to read, music to listen to, remember between contractions you have down time. You need to relax and have something to do. I listened to an ipod for #2, and read with #1.

Bring your own sweet-smelling things; shampoo and lotion-whatever will make you feel relaxed and like you. Comfortable clothes, baby's take home outfit. A change of clothes for DH in case he never makes it home. Bring your own gown or nightgown (ask your doc about this).

Make sure the carseat is ready.

Try to refuse things like a routine heplock (where they would put an iv). Advocate to move around...you cannot just lie there for 20 plus hours in a bed. This is where having a midwife is so great.

When you go into labor, try to stay home as long as you possibly can. You should go to the hospital when you are starting to cry and freak out about the pain, not when you are giddy and excited that it has begun. If you are too happy when you get there, you'll just wait around a LOT.

You might want a tripod for your video camera. I regret that I don't have more of the birth....you can even point the camera away from you if you don't want the gory details, as long as you have the SOUND of birth, that makes for great background on a slideshow for a dvd later (thank you for this great idea Carrie).

On a lighter note:
A fun book for you to read this summer:

Girlfriends Guide to the First Year. It was a great read a few weeks before giving birth. I didn't read this, but would have if I didn't have a toddler, Belly Laughs.

Nightmare of giving birth
Remember the hormones are busting out of your body after birth. 2 days, 4 days and 2 weeks and 4 weeks after giving birth you will be a non-functional, emotional basket case...this is hormones.

Watch for signs of post partum depression. If in a month life is still looking bleak and you have bad thoughts about your baby...you MUST tell your doctor. This is a real thing, and there is help available....it is out of your control, just hormones.

Give yourself an entire 2 weeks to recover....your body will be happy about this at the 6 week mark.

Oh, and with each subsequent baby you have, the afterbirth cramps get worse and worse and worse. My midwife chose to tell me this about 8 and a half minutes after delivering number 2...thanks a lot.


  • Alrighty then - I am putting all plans to get pregnant with a third on HOLD. Yep...good birth control.

    Thanks Kage - great post. That picture is pretty nasty though...
    posted by Blogger chloe at 7/15/2006 08:54:00 AM  

  • Nice overview. Distgusting picture. The Motherwear bras were nice in theory but they didn't make them small enough--even for my breastfeeding boob. I know. Very Sad. I just liked using ones from Gap Body that were stretchy enough to just pull down. No clasp to wrestle with.

    As for private parts. My midwife recommended soaking some pads in witch hazel and putting the in the freezer. The witch hazel won't actually freeze, but it gets super cold and feels great on, what are we calling it here, cootchie? hoo-ha? You know what I mean.

    You're a good big sister. No one took the time to tell me anything like this before I had my first. I managed fine, but I would have loved getting advice from someone I knew and trusted.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 7/15/2006 09:15:00 AM  

  • I love that you took a pic of your placenta. I think they're fascinating organs and the gross factor makes them cool. I asked my husband to take a pic, but he got a "full shot" along with it, if you know what I mean.
    posted by Blogger Julie at 7/15/2006 09:46:00 AM  

  • Good thing I've seen that before otherwise I would have freaked when I came to the site! I can't believe you took a picture of it. I truly don't want to see mine. All the information is so helpful though. Thanks Kage.
    posted by Blogger Linzerdoodle at 7/15/2006 01:26:00 PM  

  • I just have to add that in addition to all the crazy physical hurting and healing that Kage has described so well here (does anyone want to have a baby after reading this?!?!), those first few weeks after the baby is born can be absolute bliss.

    Despite feeling a strange sense of sadness over losing my pregnancy (http://talesfromthecrib.blogspot.com/2006/04/post-partum-depression.html), I have never been happier or more peaceful than I was during the first two or three weeks after my daughter was born. It was wonderful. Heaven was the best way to describe it. I was so in love with my baby, it didn't matter to me that I hurt all over. (I'm not saying that Kage or anyone else wasn't in love with her babies--this is just the way I, my body, and my hormones reacted to those early days after birth.) And you could be blessed with a baby that sleeps and eats well right away, so that daze of constant feedings in the middle of the night isn't so bad. Of course, you may not and you might get depressed, but I just wanted to offer the possible outlook that things could be absolutely wonderful.

    And just to offer alternate opinions than Kage on two points:

    1. I had 12 hours of almost no time in between rather painful contractions: reading or listening to music was not possible. But I didn't want to watch TV because the whole experience felt too sacred to allow in the outside world, so I talked with dh, marveled over what was happening to me, and just rested and thought (after that wonderful epidural)--there was so much to think about, I didn't get bored. When I got home from the hospital, I laughed at the crocheting, books, and games I had packed to occupy myself.

    2. I didn't put on any of my own clothes while I was at the hospital. Too many things leakin' out. I figured I'd rather they leak on those nasty stained hospital gowns than on my clothes. Plus I was so enraptured with my baby that I didn't care what I looked like. And I really enjoyed those last few braless days.
    posted by Blogger sunny at 7/15/2006 01:42:00 PM  

  • Another recommendation I would give for sore nipples is something commonly referred to as Newman's ointment:


    I feel like I need to be the spokesperson for this amazing stuff. With baby #1, I experienced the worst pain of my life while breastfeeding for the first three months. I finally had someone diagnose me with a yeast infection on my nipples. There was no evidence of thrush on baby, but the yeast had developed as a result of being on anti-biotics for mastitis (warning - if you have to go on anti-biotics for ANYTHING while nursing, take acidopholus pills faithfully!)

    Lansinoh did nothing for me, but when my doctor prescribed this for me, it worked a miracle. In my efforts to be pro-active with baby #2, I asked my OB for another prescription for it BEFORE I gave birth and she had no problem writing one out for me. I used it from day one and never had to deal with the pain that comes from sore, cracked nipples. It acts as a preventative as well as a remedy. It is also safe for baby to ingest & saved me sooo much pain after baby #2!! I would highly recommend it to ANYONE to get a prescription, just in case!
    posted by Anonymous fellowstew at 7/15/2006 02:24:00 PM  

  • Two more thoughts--there is a reason that mothers of mothers are the ones to come stay for the first week or so after a baby is born. When my older sister had her first baby, my mother was in Japan on a mission, so I was the one who went and stayed with my sister the week after her son was born. But I had never had a baby, so I had NO idea what she was going through physically. I had no idea that she might even need help going to the bathroom--or at least, filling up that little spray bottle to avoid using toilet paper. So, Kage, your sister is lucky to have your advice.

    And one of the best things my mother did when she came to help me was bring some cute and comfy pajamas that were modest enough to wear in front of visitors and through out the day and easy to nurse in (but NOT nursing pajamas--ugh). She told me I wasn't to get dressed for a week. It felt great to lounge around in my post-pregnant body in those pajamas for days. What a great gift!
    posted by Blogger sunny at 7/15/2006 02:25:00 PM  

  • That is the GROSSEST. PICTURE. EVER.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 7/15/2006 03:21:00 PM  

  • Can I say that part of the reason the nurses don't let you eat while you're in labor is because there is a (slight) chance that you may need to be put under general anesthetic for a c-section or otherwise. While under general anesthetic your gag reflex goes away which means that if anything from your stomach comes up it could not only do damage to your esophogas and lungs, but you could drown in it. I really wish nurses would explain things like this to people so that they understand *why* they aren't allowed snacks.

    Great advice though. I used dermoplast spray instead of tucks.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 7/15/2006 04:48:00 PM  

  • NOTE TO SELF: Definately not ready for childbirth anytime soon. Really, had no idea. yay, birth control.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 7/15/2006 04:59:00 PM  

  • Tamrobot: I guess Ignorance really is Bliss in this category.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 7/15/2006 05:22:00 PM  

  • Why anyone would take that picture, and then share it with the world, is beyond me. Yuck-O-Rama.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 7/15/2006 05:56:00 PM  

  • Kage, great stuff...so much of this I didn't know before it all went down.

    The L&D nurse who was with me for DS#2 told me after the birth that I had made a beautiful placenta. I said, "Um...thanks" ...And I was thinking, "You are a weirdo, nurse lady"
    posted by Blogger Jen at 7/15/2006 06:06:00 PM  

  • I cant believe all the stuff I have forgotten. EVIL MIND TRICKERY!!
    there is no way i am prepared for #2. i will be re-reading this post and buying all this stuff over and over until my panic subsides....thanks kage.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 7/15/2006 06:07:00 PM  

  • Okay, first, ew ew ew ew ew ew ew. That picture needs a warning!

    Second, just wanted to add additional experiences to some of the things Kristy mentioned. Every baby is different - Max hated swaddling after he was about a week old, screaming and wriggling his way out of it as best he could in his little tiny state. So if it works for you, great, and if it doesn't, oh well.

    Same thing with leaking breasts. I nursed for 13 months, and after the first week or so, never leaked. I know, hate me now those of you who have to suffer through pads every day. I wore them every once in a while when I had to be away from Max for long stretches, just in case, but never needed them. So again, every body is different, you'll learn what yours needs.

    And my advice on breastfeeding, if it is something that you want to do, is to just keep trying and be patient with yourself and the baby. You're both new at it, and the odds are really really good that you'll get the hang of it. If your hospital has a breastfeeding consultant or class available after the baby is born, stop in and ask any questions, have her check your technique. If things aren't going well, she can help you figure out why. And if they are, it's a good confidence boost to find out you really are doing just fine.

    Go mommy go. You'll do great!
    posted by Blogger marian at 7/15/2006 07:20:00 PM  

  • I, too, would have appreciated a warning for that picture. Yucky! Didn't wanna look at mine (or anyone's really). UGH!

    I second what Marian says. Every baby is different and no matter what kind of advice you get, you'll never really know what is going to work until you meet your baby and get to know his/her personality. I can't stress that enough. It's good to be prepared and get advice and read books, but it's you & your little one who will figure out what REALLY works.

    I would also recommend freezing pads as ice packs for afterward. Also, buy some Colace. Pooping post-baby was not a fun experience (for me at least). UGH!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 7/15/2006 09:24:00 PM  

  • Ladies,
    first of all, the placenta pictures is a freeze frame from the video, sometimes that makes it seem less weird that we happened to get in on video instead of deliberately standing there, focusing and snapping a photo. And for the record, I looked for one on line, but they were all WAY bloodier than mine, so I thought mine was ok.

    Also, I remember the midwife holding it up with her hand inside it, and it looked kind of like a wasps' nest, I was hoping that I could grab that image, but apparently that was on the video in my brain not on my videotape.

    Sunny, obviously I had amazing emotional experiences, but as the photo suggests/symbolizes, this post is about the AFTER-BIRTH experience that nobody talks about. So, what you made mention of (emotions, bliss, etc.) I would need a completely separate post for.

    You are right about the tv being an intrusion, although I do remember watch Ari Fleischer on CNN for the first delivery (beginning stages), and my DH watching sports....but that was 3 times in length from baby #2.

    Also, for #2 I bought a nightgown to labor and deliver in with full intentions of leaving it at the hospital, and I just took it off and threw it in the trash and changed into clean soft pjs.

    As for snacks, I know about the anesthesia/c-section thing, and since I did throw up A LOT pushing out baby #2 b/c of a too large Boston Market lunch, I advocate small, spread out snacking as opposed to steak dinners while laboring.

    Carrie, maybe you should get a boob job so that the motherwear bras will fit you ; )

    Alrighty....anyone ready for another one?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/16/2006 04:54:00 AM  

  • That placenta is nothin', kage, nothin'! When #3 was born, the placenta was slightly bigger than him --and he weighed 9 lbs 11 oz. My midwife couldn't stop talking about how HUGE it was and that she'd never seen anything like it in her entire life (she's had 11 of her own children and delivered close to 200 herself). So, I guess your pic really didn't gross me out.

    I am SOOOOO ready for #4, and to be honest, all that advice (which is great, by the way) is just making me hungry, hungry, hungry for another baby.

    One piece of advice I'd like to add:

    Nobody can ever describe the overwhelming and amazing feelings of love that will flood out of you when you see your baby for the first time. Some of us cry (I always do), and some of us sigh, and of course, there's a lot of pain, but I had never felt so close to God in my life then when I pushed out those precious children that had come from His Arms. To all women! Knowing about all the pain and agony is good --I wish I had kage's advice in the beginning, too --but please don't forget the GOOD. The BEAUTY. The MIRACLE of what is happening. It's truly amazing.
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/16/2006 07:24:00 AM  

  • Yeah, that picture is pretty gross. I never saw that kind of stuff when I had my babies, thank God.

    We were in with my daughter-in-law when she had our granddaughter, Rowan. Sarah aka Princess Buttgold watched her push out the afterbirth.

    We were all zoned in on the baby, but Sarah will never forget "that awful stuff coming out of Jamie's body."
    posted by Blogger annegb at 7/16/2006 08:34:00 AM  

  • This is a great site for pre/post partum products, they work great, or so I've heard, plus they're all natural.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 7/16/2006 09:56:00 AM  

  • I got snarked
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/16/2006 01:24:00 PM  

  • I'd like to add, in counter to what Cheryl said, no one can promise that you will love your baby instantly. I didn't. It was a good two months before I felt the sappy stars-in-your-eyes kind of affection for my baby. Some people can feel it right away, some can't. Don't think you're a failure or a bad mom if you don't.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 7/16/2006 08:28:00 PM  

  • Hey, it's no picnic for us either.
    posted by Anonymous Anonymous Baby at 7/17/2006 08:42:00 AM  

  • I found the picture to be quite amusing, acutally. As a nurse myself, I would have to say it is a quite lovely placenta. If your nurse didn't explain why you shouldn't be eating, she's an idiot or she's afriad you're already emotional enough and the idea that eating might lead to death could push you over the edge. I would also add that when the milk does finally come in it isn't always as pleasant as waking up from a nap as Dolly. My first time it hurt like the dickens, second time was subtle. I'm also with Sunny-forget relaxing between contractions. I was just trying to keep myself alive by remembering to breath. Isn't it amazing that the human race survives considering this is what it takes? I am truthfully baffled by how complicated and NOT GLAMOROUS this whole thing is each time I give birth. Good thing there's that little thing we call amnesia and that other thing called mother's love.
    posted by Blogger Krista at 7/17/2006 09:12:00 AM  

  • Your post inspired me to do some placenta research. Thought you would be interested that they have some placenta recipes on wikipedia, including Spicy Australia Placenta, placenta with broccoli, and placenta stew. so gross.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 7/17/2006 05:11:00 PM  

  • Okay, tamrobot, THAT was seriously the grossest thing I ever read...ewww!!
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 7/17/2006 08:10:00 PM  

  • tamrobot-doesn't this eating of the placenta qualify as cannabilism? Whatever happened to people burying them under a tree or something?
    posted by Blogger Kage at 7/17/2006 08:18:00 PM  

  • cheryl - yeah, seriously gross

    kage - haha, my husband and I totally had this same conversation regarding cannibalism. really weird. I guess in different cultures, they believe that eating the placenta prevents post-partum depression. See placentophagy in wikipedia. Note at the end under references where it says See also Cannibalism. So weird.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 7/17/2006 09:13:00 PM  

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